Calabria

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Calabria

Calabria (kälä´brēä), region (1991 pop. 2,070,203), 5,822 sq mi (15,079 sq km), S Italy, a peninsula projecting between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ionian Sea, separated from Sicily by the narrow Strait of Messina. It forms the toe of the Italian "boot." Catanzaro is the capital of Calabria, which is divided into Catanzaro, Cosenza, and Reggio di Calabria provs. (named after their capitals). The region is generally mountainous, with narrow coastal strips. Long one of the most depressed areas in Italy, the government has tried to stimulate the economy through land reform, the introduction of new crops, and the promotion of tourism. Farming is the main occupation; olives, plums, grapes, citrus fruit, and wheat are grown, and sheep and goats are raised. Fishing is well developed along the Strait of Messina. The region's few manufactures include processed food, wine, forest products, chemicals, and metal goods. There are several large hydroelectric plants. The ancient Bruttium, the region was named Calabria in the 8th cent.; before then Calabria referred to the present S Apulia. Taken in the 11th cent. by Robert Guiscard, Calabria was first part of the Norman kingdom of Sicily and after 1282 became part of the kingdom of Naples. The region was conquered by Garibaldi in 1860. Feudal landholding patterns prevailed in Calabria until the 20th cent. These, along with malaria, destructive earthquakes (particularly in 1905 and 1908), droughts, and poor transportation facilities, have hindered the economic development of the region and resulted in large-scale emigration (late 19th cent.–20th cent.) to foreign countries and to the industrial cities of N Italy. There is a relatively new university at Reggio di Calabria.

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